“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand–and melting like a snowflake…” – Francis Bacon
The weekend before I moved to New York, I went on a road trip with my sister, Hannah to Cork. We went to visit my friend Rosski and to hang out in my favourite Irish town, Clonakilty. I could write an entire blog post just about Clon but we did so much over this particular weekend and I want to tell you about it all. West Cork is one of the most beautiful places on the planet and everyone should go there. But Cork in general is all round fantastic too – so it is a must-see if you’re a tourist in Ireland, or if you’re Irish and you’ve just never explored the Rebel county!
The first thing we did when we arrived in Clonakilty was head straight to Inchydony beach – it’s outstanding and it’s pretty much the first thing I do every time I go to Clonakilty. It was voted number one beach in Ireland this summer and I’m sure you can see why.
The town of Clonakilty is so pretty and perfect that Hannah and I were discussing how it looks like a television set. There isn’t a flower pot out of place and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a piece of litter on the ground!
On Saturday, we took off towards Cork and joined up with John and Sinead. We drove East of Cork to Ballymaloe. Ballymaloe is famous in Ireland for their world-renowned relish, but in Ballymaloe itself there is a beautiful old house, a café, restaurnat, a cookery school, gardens and all sorts. We went for brunch in the Ballymaloe cafe and it was out of this world. We came to the conclusion that absolutely everything we ate was homemade from the mayonnaise to the wraps. It was so delicious. Then we were lucky enough to have time to walk around the gardens and the house and to admire the artwork they have adorning their lawn.
Afterwards, we took off in the direction of Midleton to visit The Jameson Experience. I’m not a huge whiskey fan, so I didn’t have very high expectations for the tour, but I was blown away. The tour guide we had was so insanely knowledgeable that Rosski had to ask him how on earth he knew so much! It turns out that he’s a chemist as well as a whiskey distillery tour guide, so he has a very deep understanding of all of the processes. The distillery is such a stunning building and I would 100% recommend the tour – even if you’re not a big whiskey drinker. Sinead and I even volunteered to do the tasting at the end and it was so enjoyable! Even if I grimaced after sipping on the scotch and Jack Daniels. The Jameson was OK. A whiskey cocktail is also included with your ticket at the end of the tour too.
Afterwards, we headed back to Cork and we stopped into Son of a Bun. The food was exquisite and the vibe in the restaurant is cool. When we got back to Clonakilty, we popped into De Barras to show Hannah the (in)famous bar! Because you cannot go to Clonakilty and not go to De Barras. It’s such a cool Irish-style pub with an unbelievable atmosphere. My praise for it knows no bounds!
On Sunday morning, we drove to Baltimore in West Cork and hopped on the ferry to Cape Clear. We were extraordinarily lucky and managed to plan our trip on one of the hottest days of the summer! The ferry is about 40 minutes long and you’re transported to a small Gaeltacht* paradise off the coast of Ireland! We got lunch in the shop/café by the pier (where we all chanced our arms at some Gaeilge!) and then we headed off on a hike around the island. We hiked to the top of the hill where we visited the goat farm. Rosski and I are both huge goat fans, so we walked the length and breath of the farm until we found all of them right by a cliff edge just hanging out and we laughed our asses off! They have to be the most outlandish farm animals – their personalities are astonishing! We got some goat’s milk ice cream at the end and headed on our merry way and walked a loop around the island until we got back to the pier and hopped back on the ferry.
Then, when we got back to Clonakilty we went for a little walk around the town, which you could do day after day. The boutiques they have to offer are all so beautiful and singular to Clon – you’ll find stuff there that you can’t get anywhere else. There’s also a beautiful church at the end of the town that’s hard to miss, it’s that charming.
All in all, I don’t think I could say enough nice things about Clonakilty but I have to stop here of it just becomes gushing! Definitely go and check it out whenever you have a chance. It’s handsome all year round – be sure to go for a getaway!
Rosski is currently in Cuba loving life and I’m beyond jealous! But when she gets back her next trip is going to be to NYC to see meeeee! Also, I have been documenting my roaming around New York on snapchat (IFtravels) and it’s been loads of fun, I’m starting to think I’ve lost my marbles! But give me a follow for my musings of this fascinating city!
*Gaeltacht: Primary Irish speaking region